Tag Archives: Hope

The Forgiven Girl: Part 3 in a Seven-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the stories of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.

The Woman Caught in Sin: The Forgiven Girl

Read: John 8:2-11

The woman could not escape. Two men held her arms tightly as they pushed her in front of Jesus. “Jesus!’ the teachers of the law shouted. “Look at this woman. We caught her sinning. Our law says she should be stoned. What do YOU think?”

So begins the story of The Forgiven Girl, in Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s HeartIt’s hard to imagine the feelings of that poor woman, who was dragged and disgraced, not just in front of Jesus, but in front of an entire crowd.

And let’s not forget the significance of where this awful scene took place. This shame-filled act happens in the temple courts, instigated by the religious leaders. In other words, this woman was judged, and already condemned, in the church, (another name for which could be ‘sanctuary’) by the church-goers (another name for whom could be ‘Christians’) of the day. Shocking isn’t it? Surely nothing like this would happen in our church, by our Christian friends, would it?

Let’s find out…

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The Thirsty Girl: Part 2 in a Seven-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.

The Samaritan Woman at the Well: The Thirsty Girl

Read: John 4:1-29

Israel, March 2015. The coach pulls to a stop, the doors open and we all spill out, cameras at the ready. We are British and America tourists, anxious to capture a photograph to prove that we’re standing beside the famous Jacob’s Well.

It wasn’t in the middle of a field, as you might expect. The well where Jesus sat, over two thousand years ago, and had that holy conversation with an unknown Samaritan woman, is now located in a church which serves to preserve this holy site.

We dropped a stone down the deep, deep shaft, and heard it splash 135 feet below. It was Betsy who turned the crank to wind the bucket back to the surface. And she tasted that water. I tasted that water. My sister tasted that water. We all tasted that water: the very same water that Jesus drank, all those years ago.

Don’t you think that’s incredible! After more than two thousand years, Jacob’s Well is not dried up. The water is still flowing. And if that’s not a picture of God’s never-ending, everlasting, soul-quenching love for us, I don’t know what is.

Let’s find out more about our Thirsty Girl…

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Hannah: The Hopeful Girl- Part 5 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Hannah: The Hopeful Girl

Read: 1 Samuel 1:9-2:1

I have two adorable grandchildren who live 2000 long miles away. I see them about twice a year. Last time we visited, I distinctly remember what the weather was like the day we said goodbye. It was really cloudy and gloomy and rainy. I felt like the dark skies matched my mood.

But as we flew high above the clouds, the sun was waiting to greet us, shining bright and strong and cheerful on Mount Hood’s spectacular snow-covered peaks. It was a gorgeous sight. And it reminded me that in every sad or hard situation, there’s always hope, even if you can’t see it.

Sometimes you have to climb up to find hope, and sometimes you have to go down. And that’s where we find our Hannah… down on her knees, in the temple, literally crying out to her God of hope.

 

Hannah was desperate. She was desperate for the one thing in life that had eluded her… Continue reading

Rahab: The Brave Girl – Part 3 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Rahab: The Brave Girl

Read: Joshua 2: 1-21

So, I have a confession to make.

I sometimes run on the treadmill in my dressing gown. Wait a minute… make that jog on the treadmill in my dressing gown, or maybe it’s more like a trot… a slow trot.

I love my dressing gown. It’s warm, and comfy, and cozy. But, and here’s the thing, when my body warms up, and I finally manage to throw it off, I do SO much better. I even look like I’m running sometimes.

And when I wrestle that thing off my shoulders and throw it on the ground, I always think about the writer of Hebrews who said:

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

That’s just what our brave girl, Rahab, did. She threw off everything that was holding her back and ran, straight towards God.

And what does she find? Continue reading

Miriam: The Trusting Girl – Part 2 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Miriam: The Trusting Girl

Read: Exodus 1:22-2:10

I’ve been on the Nile River. It’s huge. It’s very long. It’s very wide, and it’s very deep. And you’d have to be completely, utterly, hopelessly at the end of your own resources to ever, ever consider putting your baby in there, even if you did coat the basket with tar. But that’s what Moses’ mom did. It’s unbelievable.

This mom, after hiding her precious baby boy for three months, realizes that she cannot save him from the murderous Pharaoh, and chooses to put him in the river. Hear that again. She chooses to put him in the river.

It’s the ultimate lesson in letting go.

And it’s my story.

It’s not just my story because I wrote it. It’s my story because I lived it. There I was, one day, standing in an utterly desperate, utterly hopeless, utterly terrifying situation with my son.

For those awful, several years I lived in the land of what if? where all my moments and all my days were consumed with worry about all the dreadful things that might happen to him. I don’t know about you, but I’m an expert in imagining what might happen. I’m so good I could lead a class in it.

And one day, when I had come to the absolute end of my own resources, I simply had to let him go, and trust God instead. I had to place him in that basket, my precious son, with his long legs hanging over the edge, and let him go…

I wonder what Miriam thought might happen to her tiny, defenseless baby brother when her mom chose to let him go in that little basket, down in the huge River Nile?

I’m sure that any one of these awful scenarios ran through Miriam’s mind. She must surely have thought, what if…. Continue reading

Eve: The First Girl – Part 1 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women.

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Eve: The First Girl

Read: Genesis 2:15 – 3:13

God clapped his hands in delight as Eve opened her eyes for the very first time. She was wonderful! After six days of creating the world- painting the skies, stirring the seas, and filling the earth with life- here was God’s masterpiece, his glorious finishing touch to the world. Here was Eve, made by God’s own hand. And she was good.

These are the opening words in Love letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. I chose them for a reason. These words set the stage for one of the most important truths that we, as women, could ever know.

You are good. 

Hear those words again.

You are good. 

God made you. And everything God made is good.

So how are you feeling today? If you’re anything like me, you don’t truly believe those words. Because we Christians are supposed to be humble, and on top of that, life has a way of wrestling us to the ground, and whispering lies, like:

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A Special Announcement and Invitation For The New Year

When one year closes and a new one begins, hope is ushered in.

While we’re busy making our New Year’s resolutions, the master of new beginnings is waiting quietly in the wings, whispering hope into our hearts, just like this:

“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.”

This is our great God of hope doing what God does best… assuring us that the past is the past; filling us with hope; cheering us on into this new year; encouraging us to keep moving forward; holding our shaky hands every step of the way.

I’m excited to announce that here on the blog, I’ll be starting something brand-new, and I want you to be part of it. Continue reading

The Phone Call I Never Wanted

Oh Glenys… this is the phone call you never wanted.

I hear the tremor in my brother’s voice. He’s 4000 long miles away, and I say a prayer in my head.

God, whatever this is, give me strength.

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Dad is dying. 

I can hear those three words like it was yesterday. My heart is beating fast and I kneel by my front window like I always do when I don’t know what else to do.

That was one year ago today.

My little grandsons are running around the house. There’s Christmas music playing. I’m setting the table with a cheery red cloth, preparing for a party. And then the next day, I’m on a plane, England bound, where I get to kiss my dad for the last time as he lies with his eyes closed and his hands folded in that quiet, quiet room, with a stuffed dog at his feet and an acorn tucked in his pocket.

Please, God, let me know you are real.

Let my dad be living in heaven.

Let my faith not be in vain.

Let my words, let my words that I write for children, be true.

Because sometimes, just sometimes, there’s this little nagging doubt that creeps up inside me and I wonder what life is all about, and if I really will get to see my dad again, like I told him with absolute certainty on my knees that day in front of my window.

I love you Dad, and I WILL see you again.

I could hear his breathing.

My voice was strong, and in that moment, I was convinced, just like Paul, that NOTHING, not even death itself, can ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But today, I’m not strong. I’m not convinced. And I’m trying hard to hold on to my faith, my God, like I’m drowning in the ocean and it’s my only life-line, my only hope and it’s slipping fast through my fingers.

But what is faith? What is hope, the writer of Romans said, if it can be seen?

The day after I kissed my dad goodbye, as he lay in that simple wooden box, I stood in the street just a few doors down the road, while my sister and nieces played Christmas carols in the brass band. The icy wind blew my sister’s hair, and the rain in Wigan was cold. I wondered if my dad could hear them play his favorite carol, as he lay there, all alone.

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

I know my dad has been raised. I know my dad has gained that second birth. I just miss him terribly, and there’s this big, empty hole in my heart that no one can fill.

And so as my family gather in England today to celebrate and remember the life of the most Christ-like man I have ever known, the one I was utterly, utterly privileged to call Dad, I will take a walk in these Michigan wintry woods, and I’ll admire the splendid trees, all covered in soft snow, and I’ll listen for the birds he loved so much, and I’ll thank God that my dad, my wonderful dad, is in heaven.

Five Things I Never Imagined as a Children’s Author, and a Third Giveaway!

One of the most marvelous things about becoming an author is what happens next. And it’s marvelous because what might happen is totally unpredictable.

Time after time in this publishing journey, I have seen the principle of Ephesians 3:20 at work in my life. And don’t you just LOVE how The Message Bible puts it?

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

Oh, yes indeed! Here’s five things I never, ever, in my wildest or craziest of dreams, could possibly imagine happening:

  1. That when I sat down to pen the very first words of Love Letters from God, that book would one day become a series with its own brand.
  2. That I would walk in to a little British Primary school one May morning to see the walls literally covered with children’s love letters to God. IMG_2985
  3. That I would hear, time and time again, how adults have been impacted by these books, not just little ones. (Which I guess just goes to show that although my target audience is children, God’s target audience is the world.)
  4. That I would be able to dedicate Little Love Letters from God to my very first           granddaughter.
  5. That Christina Embree, a United Methodist Children’s Ministry Director in Kentucky would take Christmas Love Letters from God and work out the perfect way for families to use it to journey through Advent and into Epiphany together. (I am the author, and I have never thought of using the book in that way!)

I don’t know what your dreams are… for yourself, or your children, or your future, but what I DO know is this:

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!

There is nothing that our great God cannot do.

So keep believing! Let the wonderful, mysterious Holy Spirit keep working quietly and deeply within you.

Keep believing.

Read about using Christmas Love Letters for Advent and enter the GIVEAWAY.

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That Utterly, Amazing Thing We Call Grace

So he was there again this morning, that gorgeous kingfisher with the long beak and the beady eye, perched quietly atop our pontoon boat.

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We’ve watched him as he dives deep into the lake and emerges a few moments later dangling a poor, flapping fish from his beak. We really should stop watching at that point….but we’re unable to put the binoculars down. It’s too fascinating, seeing this grisly glimpse into nature, this devouring… it really is.

Our kingfisher is in that same spot every. single. morning. Because he knows it’s simply the best place to be. It’s where he gets fed.

Then there’s me.

My family and all my friends think I’m a wonderful Christian. And I try, I really do. But somehow, I don’t quite measure up. I KNOW where I should be every single morning. I know the best place to get fed. But I fail so miserably.

In my defense, my Bible does have a prominent spot right at the side of my bed… but my phone sits on top of it. And therefore takes precedence.

But I NEED God… I really do, especially on gray, cloudy days like this one, when the sun won’t shine. And my heart is troubled.

On days like this I so need to know and remember that God is the one who can heal all hurts and right all wrongs, who can mend broken hearts and hold us when we cry.

God is the one who catches every tear, who fixes our failures and whispers hope into our hearts; the one who makes a way when there seems no way.

God is the one who tells me I am loved no matter what I do, or don’t do, no matter how many miserable times I fail or how many times I fall. God will lift me up.

It’s that utterly amazing grace that John Newton knew so well.

I stepped out onto the sodden grass this morning, trying to get a better picture of that kingfisher as he sat atop our pontoon boat. I wanted a close-up. The grass was long and wet with rain. My socks were soaked. But I’d only taken a few steps when he flew away.

God is not like that.

Because I know that the minute I start running to God, God will run to me.

I know God is the one waiting for me to turn and take those steps, and before I’ve even put my foot down, God is running, running right towards me, holding out those great big arms that will scoop me up and hold me tight and never let me go.

Healing all the hurt. Righting all the wrongs.

I’m running, God. I’m running.